Vargas-Mosley, part 2

Jul 11, 2006 3:25 AM

The Mosleys were good enough together they probably could drink in the same bar. Unlike most father-son relationships in boxing, this one seemed to work, from the time Jack Mosley put gloves on Shane after Sugar beat Oscar de la Hoya the first time.

Things soured a bit and after Vernon Forrest, Jack Mosley was invited to leave the corner, although he remained a strong part of Sugar Shane’s life. He may not have been trainer, but he was still father.

Now, as Sugar Shane motors his final laps, fate has brought them together again. The brilliant young John David Jackson had taken over for Jack Mosley, but stepped aside — with Shane’s permission — to work with Bernard Hopkins and give the former middleweight champion some instruction on how to beat Antonio Tarver.

While Jackson was showing Hopkins the way, Mosley had to go to camp to prepare for next weekend’s rematch with Fernando Vargas at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, an HBO pay-per-view special. Needing another trainer, it wasn’t difficult going to the speed-dial and calling on the guy who taught him "power" boxing.

Sugar Shane will need all the help he can get. Yes, he scored a tenth-round stoppage of El Feroz last Feb. 25, but the fight was far from over when a grotesque swelling around Vargas’s left eye caused the doctors to call a halt. Vargas complained that he didn’t have to see Mosley with two eyes to keep hitting him.

At the time, the bout was believed to be an "eliminator" of one career of the two Southern California stalwarts. Because of the nature of the stoppage, and the fact that Vargas refused to back up and just came pressing forward, both survived. Mosley, who acknowledges he’d be a lot more comfortable at 147 pounds than at 154, agreed to give the rematch because the pay-per-view numbers of the original fight were so strong there was a demand for an encore.

I still think at 147, Mosley would rate about 3-1 over Antonio Margarito and would also be the toughest assignment for Floyd Mayweather Jr. At 154, though he beat de la Hoya a second time at that weight and in his rematch put up a spirited fight against Winky Wright, Mosley is not as "elite."

He still should be good enough to beat Vargas. Let’s apply the Gold(en Boy) standard. Mosley beat Oscar twice, at 147 and 154, and Fernando lost to his bitter rival by stoppage. Of course, there’s a Wright way of looking at it, too — Winky Wright beat Mosley twice while losing a very controversial decision to Vargas.

But the best comparative shopping is available because they have already met and Mosley was clearly the superior boxer. He was almost as strong as the bigger man, was able to take Vargas’s many punches and a whole lot quicker. His accurate right hand sculpted that gargoyle on Vargas’s face. That’s another edge Mosley has — skin. Vargas is more likely to cut and swell.

It would seem Mosley is worth the minus $2. I think he outboxes Vargas again, beats him to the punch again. But the reason Vargas has been so popular is the unquestionable warrior’s heart. What if he had two eyes open in their first fight? Would I have collected my bets? Maybe my bet on Mosley to win, but certainly not the one to win by knockout.

I must admit that I’ve long been a Mosley fan. I can’t recall ever betting against him, even in his rematch with Vernon Forrest. He was one of the late Eddie Futch’s favorites, too, and I can’t forget how good he was at lightweight, how good he was coming down the stretch against Oscar the first time.

That was when Jack Mosley was in the corner, making adjustments as they went along. I find the plus $1.60 on Vargas very tempting, but with Papa Jack back in Mosley’s corner, I think I shall pass and just enjoy a good scrap between two good guys.